Horry County Police Department vacancies back up - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Horry County Police Department vacancies back up

(Source: WMBF News) (Source: WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Police Department currently has about 15 vacancies, up from zero at the end of last year.

“We’re losing folks,” HCPD Chief Joseph Hill said. “Our vacancy rate is rather high right now.”

Chief Hill said the number of vacancies has grown in just a few months because four people retired, some people resigned, and three people were terminated after investigations into conduct.

HCPD staff are being trained now on a new automated internal affairs program to more accurately track disciplinary problems.

“It’s important we adequately track our complaints, but more importantly, we have an early warning system built into IEPro that alerts us when officers are heading down the wrong path,” Chief Hill said. “Whether it’s attendance, whether it’s use of force complaints, vehicle crashes, which is a big concern for council, we get a heads up through automation that we need to pull that officer in and either provide training, redirection, or discipline.”

After a year of lawsuits against HCPD and criticism due to four former Horry County Police officers being charged with misconduct, a cultural shift is happening in the department.

“My mission here was to change the ship a little bit, the direction of the ship,” Hill said.

However, when there are terminations, the need for recruitment grows even more.

“My recruiting and hiring team when I got here consisted of one person,” he said. “How are we going to hire and retain folks with one person? So now I’ve got another person in there.”

Chief Hill said pay is a problem. The starting salary for an Horry County police officer is $35,300. South Carolina Highway Patrol offers $38,273 for a trooper without experience.

“Officers are trying to feed their families. They’re going to make that choice to leave just to be able to keep the lights on and make a better life for themselves and I can’t blame them,” Chief Hill said.

The department offers other benefits.

“One thing everybody doesn’t always look at is we pay for 100 percent of their health insurance,” said Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus. “We let them take vehicles home where a lot of other municipalities don’t, so that saves them a lot of time, a lot of wear and tear on their own personal vehicles and gas.”

Lazarus said class-one officers were given a five percent pay raise two years ago, while other county employees got a two percent raise.

For fiscal year 2018, Horry County Council is looking at a merit-based pay raise for all county employees of up to five percent, but Chief Hill says that won’t really help with retention.

“We’re dodging bullets, knives. We are encountering folks that would do us harm every day,” he said. “Our career choices in law enforcement is challenging and it’s very dangerous. How do I compensate somebody for that fairly to keep them in this profession?”

He said he hopes a bigger pay raise for police can come in the future, especially once that cultural shift takes place too.

“I didn’t tackle pay raises this year because, one, I need to build up that community of trust with Horry County Police Department. We’ve got a lot of bridge building to do,” Chief Hill said. “Once folks have that confidence in us that I think we’re deserving of then they’re going to stand behind us for additional pay compensations. I haven’t forgotten what I said when I got hired and I get reminded of that every day.”

He said it costs about $200,000 to train one officer and it can take nearly a year for them to go through all of the necessary steps to become street effective.

Chief Hill requested nine new patrol officers for the next Horry County budget. That budget passed first reading Thursday.

He said he really wants to focus on community engagement and he recently created a specific team of officers to work directly with communities on ongoing crime.

Three officers are doing specialized training now as part of this Community Outreach Team, or COT Team.

Chief Hill said the department used to have a COT Team years ago before budget cuts dissolved it.

The officers will focus on traffic enforcement and most importantly going to areas that are crime hot spots to work with people there to solve problems.

 “I’ve got a lot planned for this unit,” Chief Hill said. “They know this going into it, but I think it’s going to be worthwhile for the citizens of Horry County.”

Chief Hill said the department is also getting a new analytic program to help identify those hot spots and use predictive analysis to place police in certain areas to deter crime.

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsLocalMore>>

  • Sidewalk art looks to spread positivity in downtown Myrtle Beach

    Sidewalk art looks to spread positivity in downtown Myrtle Beach

    Saturday, April 21 2018 8:49 PM EDT2018-04-22 00:49:38 GMT
    100 pieces of artwork like this will be displayed throughout downtown on the sidewalks (Source: WMBF News)100 pieces of artwork like this will be displayed throughout downtown on the sidewalks (Source: WMBF News)

    MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) -- Downtown redevelopment has been one of the focal points for the city of Myrtle Beach and work is underway to create a family friendly atmosphere. One of those project looks to spread positivity for those walking on sidewalks. 100 pieces of artwork like this will be displayed throughout downtown on the sidewalks. Larry Bond, owner of Art Burger in downtown Myrtle Beach has worked with several local artists as well as the Downtown Revitalization Committee t...

    More >>

    MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) -- Downtown redevelopment has been one of the focal points for the city of Myrtle Beach and work is underway to create a family friendly atmosphere. One of those project looks to spread positivity for those walking on sidewalks. 100 pieces of artwork like this will be displayed throughout downtown on the sidewalks. Larry Bond, owner of Art Burger in downtown Myrtle Beach has worked with several local artists as well as the Downtown Revitalization Committee t...

    More >>
  • FIRST ALERT: Sunny Sunday followed by soggy start to work week

    FIRST ALERT: Sunny Sunday followed by soggy start to work week

    Saturday, April 21 2018 7:40 PM EDT2018-04-21 23:40:32 GMT
    Next 3 DaysNext 3 Days

    While the end of the weekend will be clear, rain chances rise heading into Monday and Tuesday.  Sunday will see a similar temperature trend with readings in the upper 60s and lower 70s. 

    More >>

    While the end of the weekend will be clear, rain chances rise heading into Monday and Tuesday.  Sunday will see a similar temperature trend with readings in the upper 60s and lower 70s. 

    More >>
  • Multiple businesses destroyed in Robeson Co. fire

    Multiple businesses destroyed in Robeson Co. fire

    Saturday, April 21 2018 7:39 PM EDT2018-04-21 23:39:53 GMT
    Source: PixabaySource: Pixabay

    Three businesses in a strip mall were destroyed by fire Thursday evening in Fairmont, according to Lumberton Police Chief Paul Ivey.

    More >>

    Three businesses in a strip mall were destroyed by fire Thursday evening in Fairmont, according to Lumberton Police Chief Paul Ivey.

    More >>
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Woman loses home at auction to former attorney

    Woman loses home at auction to former attorney

    Saturday, April 21 2018 11:11 PM EDT2018-04-22 03:11:04 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 5:23 AM EDT2018-04-22 09:23:15 GMT
    Sawyers watched her Florissant, MO, home go to auction Thursday. The highest bidder was her former attorney. (Source: KPLR/CNN)Sawyers watched her Florissant, MO, home go to auction Thursday. The highest bidder was her former attorney. (Source: KPLR/CNN)

    Sawyers watched her Florissant, MO, home go to auction Thursday. The highest bidder was her former attorney.

    More >>

    Sawyers watched her Florissant, MO, home go to auction Thursday. The highest bidder was her former attorney.

    More >>
  • Delta passenger fined $500 for apple

    Delta passenger fined $500 for apple

    Saturday, April 21 2018 1:01 PM EDT2018-04-21 17:01:03 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 6:45 PM EDT2018-04-21 22:45:42 GMT
    adlock's healthy snack turned into a tough reality to stomach. (Source: KDVR/CNN)adlock's healthy snack turned into a tough reality to stomach. (Source: KDVR/CNN)

    Crystal Tadlock is not happy about the fine she said

    More >>

    Crystal Tadlock is not happy about the fine she said

    More >>
  • 4 dead, 4 others hurt in Waffle House shooting

    4 dead, 4 others hurt in Waffle House shooting

    Sunday, April 22 2018 5:55 AM EDT2018-04-22 09:55:32 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 8:06 AM EDT2018-04-22 12:06:12 GMT
    Person of Interest Identified as Travis Reinking of Morton, ILPerson of Interest Identified as Travis Reinking of Morton, IL

    Four people were killed, and 4 others were injured in a shooting inside a Waffle House at 3571 Murfreesboro Pike. The shooting took place at approximately 3:30 a.m. Sunday. According to police at the scene, a white man who was naked except for a green jacket went into the restaurant and started firing. They described the gun he used as an AR-15. Police are still searching for him at this time. 

    More >>

    Four people were killed, and 4 others were injured in a shooting inside a Waffle House at 3571 Murfreesboro Pike. The shooting took place at approximately 3:30 a.m. Sunday. According to police at the scene, a white man who was naked except for a green jacket went into the restaurant and started firing. They described the gun he used as an AR-15. Police are still searching for him at this time. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly